First Commission - A Slightly Different Blonde

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drbass
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First Commission - A Slightly Different Blonde

Post by drbass » 10 Dec 2017, 10:29

Edit: updated photos!!!


Not my NBD but someone else's. Wasn't quite sure where to post this but this forum seemed to be as good as any. Will write more detailed notes in the "Commercial" forum at some stage.

Finally finished my first commission build. Customer is a drummer I play with a fair bit who started dabbling in bass and liked my builds (both visually and sonically). He asked me to build something that's easy to play, has a clear sound and is 4 string without breaking the bank.

That obviously meant a model Q was the right starting point: passive, very simple and reasonably traditional. Bit concerned about the "clear sound" bit so I suggested to use a second hand Sandberg-branded MM-style hum bucker (my guess is it's a Delano) instead of the usual P pickup, and he was happy with that.
Finish was originally supposed to be Kermit-green but when he saw the ash grain he wanted to keep it natural. So here it is (looks a little yellow in the pics, sorry, hard to take photos of these things). David of course already has dibs on Marilyn so I thought that "Brigitte" (as in Bardot) would be appropriate, and of course it brings a little European sophistication ;) .

Here's Brigitte:
















And nice fat Luminlay markers with a black ring - can't miss those.

At first I wasn't quite sure but this finish has really grown on me (possibly the hardest part: letting go). I like that you can see all the little differences in the colour of the timber.

Sounds and plays absolutely amazing (of course I would say that but then I would also say it's "meh" or "OK"). The 2-way switch (thank you for figuring out the soldering, David Searle) does series and parallel, and I have to say that in this bass the parallel is my preferred setting. It really is a beautiful full MM-style sound, very balanced, super-tight E string and round yet snappy top.

Is this the best I've built so far? No, there are a number of small things that I would like to have done better. I'd call it an advanced prototype but then it'll go for absolutely mate's rates so I'm OK with that. Can't wait to see the customer's face.

Happy to answer any questions.

Regards,
Michael
Last edited by drbass on 10 Dec 2017, 15:52, edited 1 time in total.
- Kermit 6 multi, Kermit Gaia 6 fretless, Kermit Rockmachine 5, Manta 5, "Red Baron" 5, Q 5, (Sandberg Classic S2-5), (Thumb-4)
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3
- EBS OctaBass, Boss MS-3, Line6 G50

sic608
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Re: First Commission - A Slightly Different Blonde

Post by sic608 » 10 Dec 2017, 10:41

Nice work Michael!

Love that new/re worked headstock :thumbup:
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ozrider
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Re: First Commission - A Slightly Different Blonde

Post by ozrider » 10 Dec 2017, 11:20

Michael, from what I understand about it, there are some claims about benefits of the reverse headstock in terms of string tension, but do you actually find that you notice effects of this? I'm asking because you're building them and I'm betting you may have noticed something as you've gone about construction.

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drbass
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Re: First Commission - A Slightly Different Blonde

Post by drbass » 10 Dec 2017, 11:28

ozrider wrote:
10 Dec 2017, 11:20
Michael, from what I understand about it, there are some claims about benefits of the reverse headstock in terms of string tension, but do you actually find that you notice effects of this? I'm asking because you're building them and I'm betting you may have noticed something as you've gone about construction.
What do you define as a "benefit", George? Some people like strings a little less tight, others prefer more tightness.

A lot depends on which strings you use as well. I always use (and have been since I can remember) a .040 G, going up in .020 increments (unless I use the Dingwall strings which have somewhat "wonky" gauges), and am a big fan of DR stainless steel Hi Beam and, as of recently, the nickel strings (Pure Blues). They were always nice and "soft", perfect tightness for me. You can dig in, or play softly, always a good feel for me.

The only way to find out if there is any impact at all would be to build two necks, one standard, one inverted, and compare. I don't even have a bass with a "standard" headstock (i.e. J or P) :shrug: . So if there is difference ("benefit") I actually wouldn't know. All I know is that what I have feel perfect (for me).

Regards,
Michael
- Kermit 6 multi, Kermit Gaia 6 fretless, Kermit Rockmachine 5, Manta 5, "Red Baron" 5, Q 5, (Sandberg Classic S2-5), (Thumb-4)
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3
- EBS OctaBass, Boss MS-3, Line6 G50

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ozrider
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Re: First Commission - A Slightly Different Blonde

Post by ozrider » 10 Dec 2017, 11:41

drbass wrote:
10 Dec 2017, 11:28
ozrider wrote:
10 Dec 2017, 11:20
Michael, from what I understand about it, there are some claims about benefits of the reverse headstock in terms of string tension, but do you actually find that you notice effects of this? I'm asking because you're building them and I'm betting you may have noticed something as you've gone about construction.
What do you define as a "benefit", George?
Regards,
Michael
yeah good point, I'm always obsessed with the action. I've noticed that fenders typically with the inline four tuners always pull up hard on the G side causing the fretboard to be unevenly bowed between the E and G sides. Even when I've experimented with different string gauges I've always preferred to have a 2 + 2 or a 4 + 1 config so at least there's a balance, and in particular so that G is not stuck on a tuning peg way out at the end of the headstock, which I suspect produces a lot of torque. So the benefit I'm wondering about is how the neck responds, whether it remains more symmetrical in terms of neck bow across the strings.

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drbass
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Re: First Commission - A Slightly Different Blonde

Post by drbass » 10 Dec 2017, 11:47

Hmmm.

I actually don't mind a little more bowing on the bass side of the neck, and a little less (i.e. straighter neck) on the treble side (but of course the opposite is not great) to give the thicker strings a little more room to vibrate.

All my headstocks are angled as well so I don't have to use string retainers which of course increase the required string length (small amount but still) which may contribute to what you see.

I too am obsessed with action, and let me tell you, this build is so effortlessly playable it's not funny (yes, there's the tiniest amount of buzz but that's part of the sound - going up just a tad would get rid of it and it would still be very comfortable. I also used zero frets (same height as the other frets) which helps make the action very low.

Regards,
Michael
- Kermit 6 multi, Kermit Gaia 6 fretless, Kermit Rockmachine 5, Manta 5, "Red Baron" 5, Q 5, (Sandberg Classic S2-5), (Thumb-4)
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3
- EBS OctaBass, Boss MS-3, Line6 G50

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slowlearner
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Re: First Commission - A Slightly Different Blonde

Post by slowlearner » 10 Dec 2017, 12:30

Dude, when do you sleep? Seriously. Germany last week, new build finished this week. Whatever drugs you're on, I want some. :)
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drbass
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Re: First Commission - A Slightly Different Blonde

Post by drbass » 10 Dec 2017, 13:17

slowlearner wrote:
10 Dec 2017, 12:30
Dude, when do you sleep? Seriously. Germany last week, new build finished this week. Whatever drugs you're on, I want some. :)
Not quite like that, Pete - this one's been "festering" for a while, I just managed to put the finishing touches on in the last couple of weeks.

No builds going at the moment at all ... .

Regards,
Michael
- Kermit 6 multi, Kermit Gaia 6 fretless, Kermit Rockmachine 5, Manta 5, "Red Baron" 5, Q 5, (Sandberg Classic S2-5), (Thumb-4)
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3
- EBS OctaBass, Boss MS-3, Line6 G50

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Curto
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Re: First Commission - A Slightly Different Blonde

Post by Curto » 10 Dec 2017, 15:31

NIIIICE!!! Love it! :clap: :clap: :clap:
The black ring around the luminlay dots really suits the accentuated black grain.
What are the specs on this one? 34" or 35"? Looks like a narrower string spacing too?
Custom 32

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drbass
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Re: First Commission - A Slightly Different Blonde

Post by drbass » 10 Dec 2017, 15:33

Curto wrote:
10 Dec 2017, 15:31
NIIIICE!!! Love it! :clap: :clap: :clap:
The black ring around the luminlay dots really suits the accentuated black grain.
What are the specs on this one? 34" or 35"? Looks like a narrower string spacing too?
Thank you, Paul,

Details in the Commercial section.

Regards,
Michael
- Kermit 6 multi, Kermit Gaia 6 fretless, Kermit Rockmachine 5, Manta 5, "Red Baron" 5, Q 5, (Sandberg Classic S2-5), (Thumb-4)
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3
- EBS OctaBass, Boss MS-3, Line6 G50

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Curto
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Re: First Commission - A Slightly Different Blonde

Post by Curto » 10 Dec 2017, 15:34

Just found it and reading now ...
Custom 32

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Classic5
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Re: First Commission - A Slightly Different Blonde

Post by Classic5 » 10 Dec 2017, 15:58

Another great build Michael.....looks absolutely beautiful :cool:

You're gonna have one very happy customer.....:thumbup:
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sharpman
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Re: First Commission - A Slightly Different Blonde

Post by sharpman » 10 Dec 2017, 20:18

yep this is gorgeous, and absolutely a bass I could see myself playing-clean, simple, with a little bit attitude
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narcdor
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Re: First Commission - A Slightly Different Blonde

Post by narcdor » 11 Dec 2017, 10:00

Loving the new photos, and I can't wait to see what's next!
B: Fender Mustangs, Narcdor Precision, Lindsey Precision, Nash Jazz, Framus Star Bass, EBMM Stingray
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drbass
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Re: First Commission - A Slightly Different Blonde

Post by drbass » 11 Dec 2017, 10:38

narcdor wrote:
11 Dec 2017, 10:00
Loving the new photos, and I can't wait to see what's next!
Thanks, guys, much appreciated.

And I have no idea, Nick. I have started on a neck and body for a fretless Manta (zebrano top) but half screwed the neck so not sure what I'll do with that. Other than that no immediate plans, no further interest right now. Might dabble in a neck-through, and I'll have to do a little bit of "background work" (some "technical" drawings, routing templates, measurements, that sort of stuff). We'll see.

Regards,
Michael

P.S.: MSOGM Christmas Party on Saturday - I'll be there.
- Kermit 6 multi, Kermit Gaia 6 fretless, Kermit Rockmachine 5, Manta 5, "Red Baron" 5, Q 5, (Sandberg Classic S2-5), (Thumb-4)
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3
- EBS OctaBass, Boss MS-3, Line6 G50

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